H.O.R.S.E. is a mixed poker game in which some of its most popular variations are played in rotation. The construction of the name H.O.R.S.E. is, like many of the names of mixed games in poker, is an acronym of each of the games played. To that end, H.O.R.S.E. features, in order, games of Hold’em (H), Omaha (O), Razz (R), Seven Card Stud (S) and 7 Card Stud Eight or Better (E).
H.O.R.S.E. is popular in some online poker rooms as it provides the ultimate test for a poker player to prove that they can play at a high level while switching from variant to variant. Because of this, players must be familiar with the rules of all of the five poker variants that are employed in this mixed poker game. So, if you are not yet in this position, you should get some practice time in for each poker game variant individually before attempting to play H.O.R.S.E.
When you do give H.O.R.S.E. a try, you will find that each variant will be played for a set amount of time before moving on in order to the next. This can differ but you can normally expect this to change after one full rotation of the dealer button. If you play H.O.R.S.E. poker online the current game will be listed at the top of the table.
H.O.R.S.E. is usually played in a fixed limit format and bets and raises cannot exceed the permitted maximum. The game normally runs 8 handed and there is also a maximum of four raises per betting round, while blinds will increase with each new game turnover. After you have played all of the individual games through once, play switches back to Hold’em, the first game we played and where the H comes from in the game’s name.
Hold’em Poker (H)
The game begins with Hold’em, the most popular format of poker universally, albeit on this occasion the game is fixed limit. In Hold’em, players are each dealt two hole cards face down and need to construct the best possible five card hand from these two, plus the five community cards that are laid out on the table for all of the players to use.
Players can use all or none of their hole cards, note that these are sometimes called pocket cards, but not all of the community cards are revealed at the same time. After some initial betting technicalities, the first three cards are revealed in what is known as the flop, before more betting followed by another card revealed at the turn.
Then there’s more betting followed by the river when the final card is revealed at which point all players know exactly what they are holding and the player with the stronger hand wins unless all of the others have folded by this point.
Omaha Poker (O)
Omaha has similar rules to Hold’em, but instead players have four hole cards and must use exactly two of them plus three from the five community cards that have been dealt in the same flop, turn, river format.
Other than that, play is the same as Hold’em above.
Razz Poker (R)
Razz is a strikingly different game to play and requires the first dramatic shift in strategy so far. The aim in Razz is to get the lowest ranking poker hand as opposed to the highest ranking poker hand.
Throughout the course of a hand of Razz, players are dealt seven cards in what are known as streets and must use five of these cards to form the lowest ranking poker hand by the time they reach 7th street. Aces are low and the best hand you can make in Razz is Ace, two, three, four, five.
Seven Card Stud (S)
Seven Card Stud plays a lot like Razz but with the exact opposite aim in that you are hoping to put together the strongest five card poker hand.
Being a stud poker game, there is an absence of community cards meaning players can only work with what they have personally been dealt.
7 Card Stud Eight or Better (E)
In the final game of the rotation, 7 Card Stud Eight or Better, players are required to form two different five card hands, one as high as possible, the other as low as possible, to make from their seven dealt cards.
The highest ranking hand will scoop half of the pot with the other half of the pot going to the player who has made the lowest ranking five card hand providing they have qualified by having no card higher than an eight. If they have not qualified then the high hand winner is awarded the entire pot.
Where Can I Play H.O.R.S.E. Online?
While H.O.R.S.E. games at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) are famous they are not so easily found online. But, that is not to say that is not available online because it absolutely is, you just need to look for it. And, when you find it, make sure that the site you have chosen to play with are safe and secure and reputable.
In short, you need to do your homework, not just on how to play the game of H.O.R.S.E., but also where to play the game of H.O.R.S.E. as well. Of course, the first thing to understand about H.O.R.S.E. is how to play all of the individual games that make it up. Even then, playing all of them together in rapid succession is a whole different thing so put the work in first in order to maximise your chances of success at the virtual felt.
H.O.R.S.E. Poker FAQ
So What Is H.O.R.S.E. Poker Exactly?
H.O.R.S.E. is a mixed game of poker, formed from five different variants.
Which Games Are Involved Then?
In order, the games that make up H.O.R.S.E. are Hold’em, Omaha, Razz, Seven Card Stud and 7 Card Stud Eight or Better played with one full rotation of the dealer button around the table before the game moves on to the next variant
Is It A Hard Game To Play?
Not individually on a game by game basis, no. So long as you learn the rules of all of the games you will come up against, you should be ok. However, when all of the games are played altogether, H.O.R.S.E. can provide a real test which is why elite players often play it to demonstrate their skills
Are Their Betting Limits In H.O.R.S.E.?
Yes, this is typically played with fixed limits
Can I Play H.O.R.S.E. For Real Money Online?
Yes, there are sites with the capabilities to offer H.O.R.S.E. Poker